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fed with spiritual food. The pastor must give himself body and soul to his work, and have a high sense of his responsibility, as shepherd over the fold, which Christ has entrusted to his charge. He must be a man of much prayer, and withal, we suspect, must be separated from the world by a broader line of distinction than is common among us. It is of at least equal importance that the people should pay strict attention to the duties and ordinances of religion—attendance at divine worship—keeping holy the Lord's dayfamily worship-secret and social prayer-universal charity, and sincere endeavours to put away from them every known sin. There must be no turning from the good old way of a holy life and a heavenly conversation. LET US GET,
is the beautiful language of McIlvaine" US GET THE EAR OF SINNERS BY THE ZEAL OF TRUTH AND SOBERNESS, AND THEN FILL IT WITH JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED.
We have yet to notice the measures, which distinguish a season of Revival from the more common working of God's spirit in the conversion of sinners. We believe these to be combined and earnest prayer for that special result, and afterwards, and in a less degree, the use of protracted meetings. Every Revival begins in the closet. It is given in answer to prayer; it is upheld and blessed by prayer; and when the knees wax feeble, and the hands hang down, it sinks into spiritual slumber,-into death. We do not mean that a Revival is the work of mere human agency, naturally following from the use of certain definite means : but we do hold, because it is written, that God will certainly listen to the effectual fervent prayers of a sincere Christian. And what is there in this world more deeply imbued with the pure, meek, lovely spirit of Christianity, than to retire into our closets, and having shut the doors, to offer up love-breathings for our brethren, and for the glory of our Redeemer's name, silent, fervent, and unknown of men, yet falling as the dews from heaven, and causing the wilderness and the desert place to rejoice and blossom like the rose ? And we would not forget the promise, that “Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I will be among them, to bless them and to do them good ;” though in the social prayer-meeting there is a far greater mixture of human infirmities. Perhaps it might be best to begin by assembling with a few, whose minds and dispositions were congenial to our own, with whom we took sweet counsel, and entered the house of God together. We are not sure that there may not be something fastidious in this, something not adapted for the rough tear and wear of an earthly Christianity ; but alas ! religion in all hearts is a tender herb, springing up out of a dry soil, and requiring much care and shelter. We would have union then, the uvion of lips and hearts mutually helping and strengthening each other ; yet after all the most prevailing combination is not the ar
tificial union of society, but the union of many prayers for one object, whether they rise together in the sanctuary and the prayermeeting, or wing their way to heaven from the privacies of the closet.
It is when God has begun to bless the prayers of his people that the protracted meetings seem called for.
We have already said, that the general feeling among American Christians is in favour of such meetings. But there is one serious objection to them which meets us at the threshold ; and which in fact applies with equal force to Revivals themselves. It is said, that they lead men to think lightly of the ordinary means of grace, and to look forward to them as special times for repentance and reformation of life; in short, to regard them as Sabbaths and set times to be kept holy unto the Lord, while the intervening periods may safely be left for the business and pleasures of the world. There is undoubtedly much weight in this : though, we suspect, the meetings are often blamed, when the root of the evil is to be sought for in the struggles of the carnal and the spiritual within us, and in the concealed longings of a sinful nature to turn away from the heavenly manna, after the flesh pots of Egypt. The argument from abuses is often unfair ; and here, more particularly, because the same objection may be urged against the Sabbath, the preaching of the Gospel, the Sacrament of the supper, indeed against the whole system of means, by which the Spirit upholds and forwards Christianity. We know that men will abuse them ; but if they be in principle unobjectionable, and if the direct good greatly exceed the incidental evil, it is our bounden duty to employ them. Indeed, judging from our own experience, we should say, that the statement was much exaggerated. During the time of a communion, in the country parishes of Scotland, when religious services are continued for five successive days, there is certainly a far greater impression made in regard to religion than at any other time, and a more than usual number savingly converted to Christ: but we have never observed this dreaded after-falling off. Christians enjoy it as a feast of love: converts as a source of unutterable blessings; and its warning is not always lost on the sinner. The Christian's piety is more fervid, not from any artificial excitement, but because he is freed for a season from the cares of worldly business, and has more time for spiritual exercises, and devout meditation : of course he falls back to his ordinary level, but there is no reason why he should fall below it. The tendency is plainly the other way. Again every convert is clear gain, being permanently raised by an immeasurable height above his former condition ; while the careless and the indifferent remain where they were before. Men indeed will hang an exeuse any where for putting off the thoughts of eternity ; but it is equally easy to say, ' I will put off until next year, or until sickness, or old age, or a death-bed,' as it is to say, I
will put of to the next communion, or the next protracted meeting. We class the two together, because they are very nearly identical. Their purpose is the same, to strengthen piety, to follow up good impressions, and to give sinners time for thought, and examples for imitation. They continue for nearly the same time, and are held at nearly the same intervals. They are conducted in the same manner, that is, by the meeting together of several ministers, who are all engaged in preaching, holding prayer-meetings, and conversing with the people on the state of their souls. They agree further in that they are adapted chiefly for a religious community, and in other cases, become too often places of idle gossiping and amusement. The following is the statement of the Rev. Dr. Green, president of the college of New-Jersey, Princeton :
“ I am decidedly in favor of protracted meetings, if not unduly protracted. I think that we have scriptural examples of them, in the holy convocations of the Old Testament, and in the lengthened attendance of multitudes on the ministry of our blessed Saviour, as received in the Evangelists. But great care should be taken to prevent all abuse of these meetings, and to see that they are conducted with entire sobriety of behavior, and if possible with a pervading and deeply felt solemnity, from the beginning of them to their termination. Their happy effect, under the blessing of God, seems to result from their being adapted to keep the solemn truths of the Gospel, and the realities of eternity, before the view of the mind, long enough to make a deep and lasting impression-an impression not so easily effaced as that which is often made and lost, by the single-day exercises of the Sabbath. They are in fact, only a modification of the protracted sacramental solemni. ties, well known in Scotland, and in some parts of our country and church.
We think the two countries might borrow from each other with great mutual advantage. In Scotland, from the loss perhaps of that experience which was once gained at Cambuslang and Kilsyth, the impressions produced at such seasons are not always pushed so far as they legitimately might. In America, it would answer the purpose better, and take away many objections, if protracted meetings were always joined with the communion, except in freqency
of occurrence. We conclude, firm in the conviction, that a Revival of Religion, in its rise, progress, and results, is manifestly the work of the Spirit of God.
It has been occasionally attended by errors and excesses, which have checked its working, and caused the whole process to be looked upon with jealousy and suspicion. But we are sure, that no Christian, and most of all, no Christian minister, can sit down, and read the appendix to Dr. Sprague's volume, in a calm unprejudiced spirit, without feeling that he has met with something that will materially influence his future conduct; we had almost said, without feeling that he has entered on a new era in his spiritual life. The letters are admirable ; sound in judgment, fervent in spirit, mighty in the scriptures, and worthy to be, as they are, the deliverance of the national church of a great peo
ple on a solemn and weighty subject. The errors and mistakes are there shown to have been the work of weak and misjudging brethren, and so far from being essential, they are unanimously forbidden and debarred. The only thing essential to a Revival is the influence of the Holy Spirit; and the only ways in which it is conveyed are the “good old ways.” The pastor must be a man of God, an affectionate, and faithful, and earnest holder forth of Christ crucified, lifted up, like the serpent in the wilderness, for the salvation of sinners. But on the people, so far as human agency is concerned, lies the main stress of the work. It is required of them that they strengthen their pastor's hands, by their faith, and self-denial, and love: that they teach their children both by precept and example ; that they give diligent heed to the ordinances of the Gospel: and that they often associate together for the exercises of religion, and be much in prayer for their own souls, and the souls of their brethren. Indeed, if we were asked, what was the distinguishing feature of a Revival, we would answer, special prayer for the outpouring of the spirit, either on individuals, or on a particular congregation, frequently and believingly
We know of no other essentials. After a Revival has begun, there may be protracted meetings, or any other measures, which sound judgment may prompt; but these, it must be remembered, are not essentials; and generally speaking, the more closely we hold to the ordinary means of grace, the better it will be for ourselves, and the better for the work.
We have left ourselves no room for remark. In the preceding sketch, we have merely selected a few of the more prominent features of this work of the Lord. Even these are indicated rather than described : while in their more minute and practical details, in the treatment of cases, in the history and statistics of Revivals, and above all in their glorious results, we have left a large and untouched field for other and abler inquirers. It has been our sole aim to direct the attention of our Christian readers to a work, which in extent, in importance, in evident proofs of the divine blessing, is second to none. Our opinion is of little weight; but we have given in their own words the deliberate judgments of holy and gifted men, high in the ranks of literature, higher in the church of God. If we believe them, we have no choice left ; we are called on to take part in the work, and to come forth to the help of the Lord against the mighty. And O what a glorious field, what an abundant harvest is ripening around us ! A Revival in India!-but we dare not trust ourselves to the contemplation. We leave the subject for the consideration, and for the prayers of our readers, anxiously recommending it to those, who, by their situation and influence in the church and in society, seem to us called upon to
take it up
II.—Mr. Marshman's Brief Survey of Ancient History.
We believe, though in this we may be mistaken, that the established practice with authors is to supply with a copy of their works the editors of such journals, magazines, &c. as they wish to take cognizance of their labours. Through some oversight, we presume, Mr. Marshman omitted sending us a copy of his “ Brief Survey,” at the time of its publication. We had not, therefore, an opportunity of expressing an opinion of its merits — when such opinion might be viewed as seasonably delivered. But though out of season,
we cannot refrain from bringing this little volume to the notice of our readers :-convinced as we have been from a perusal of it, that it possesses high claims on the favourable regards of all who are engaged in the instruction of youth. We do not here forget, that in the present field, Mr. Marshman was preceded by the Archdeacon Corrie ; as we have heretofore hailed the production of the latter with feelings of unfeigned gratitude. But as the object of both works seems somewhat distinct, there need be no interference between their respective claims. Mr. Corrie's work exhibits many more minute details, more especially in the department of Bible History : it is therefore well fitted for Christian schools, or native schools under decided Christian superintendence. Mr. Marshman's work is equally comprehensive, though more compressed, and its sketch of Bible history altogether more succinct: it is, therefore, designed to find admission even into schools, where Christianity, as a system of divine truth, is habitually disregarded. To this latter feature of Mr. Marshman's book we specially advert, because we know that many good people have asked, why the principal facts and events of sacred history have been so slightly alluded to, rather than detailed. The reason is obvious. It was intended that the book should be such that it might be introduced into seminaries from which Government pledges, or rather Government prejudices, not less than Hindoo superstition, had excluded all instruction in the Christian scriptures. Now, the books on ancient history hitherto framed under the sanction of Government committees, have been entirely suited to this apparent conspiracy of Christian rulers and heathen subjects, against the oracles of the living God. In them, while the amplest details are given of the ancient kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, &c. -and, will it be believed, while minute analyses are given of the absurd and fabulous dynasties of Hindoo mythology, dynasties which must have existed some millions of years before the world was called into being, the true account of the creation of the world and the origin of man is despatched in one short sentence, or omitted altogether! And regarding the series of historical events recorded downwards throughout the pages of the Old Testament, an utter silence is preserved :—as if no such events had ever been